Ayman al-Zawahri death by a U.S. Drone Strike in Afghanistan shows Qaeda still has a strong presence in the region
President of the United States of America, Joe Biden confirmed earlier this week that a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan this past weekend killed Ayman al-Zawahri, who took over as the leader of al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden’s death during a U.S. forced led raid in 2011.
“Justice has been delivered, and this terrorist lead is no more. No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out,” shared Biden in an evening address from the White House Blue Room balcony.
Recovering from COVID-19, Biden describe al-Zawahri as bin-Laden 2.0 and successor. al-Zawahri is allegedly the mastermind deeply involved in 9/11, the bombing of USS Cole, a U.S. navy guided missile destroyer and behind bombings at U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
al-Zawahri was residing in a home in Kabul, Afghanistan where he was hiding with his family. On the report of senior intelligence officials, the home is owned by a top aide to the senior Taliban leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani. In addition to this, the CIA ground team and aerial reconnaissance confirmed that the drone strike killed al-Zawahri. The operation was approved by Biden last week and carried out this past Sunday.
Before Biden’s address to the U.S. confirming the success of the mission, a senior administration official shared how al-Zawahri was killed.
“This year, we identified that al-Zawahri family – his wife, his daughter and her children relocated to a safe house in Kabul. We then identified al-Zawahri at the location in Kabul through layering multiple streams of intelligence,” the official said. “The strike was ultimately carried out at 9:48 p.m. Eastern on July 30 by an unmanned aerial vehicle. Two hellfire missiles were fired at al-Zawahri – only al-Zawahri was killed in the strike.” There is no evidence indicating any other loss of life.
This mission comes about a year after the United States withdrew from Afghanistan and left the nation to be led by the Taliban, a group of individuals described as “wanted”, “highly dangerous”, and “terrorists” in the past. While the United States continues to insist that the Taliban will not allow Afghanistan to be used for a breeding ground for terrorist groups such as al Qaeda, al-Zawahri’s presence in Kabul reflects a different reality.